Rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of the Lakeside girls soccer team as the Lady Panthers dominated the Panthers of Americus-Sumter 5-0 in the first round of the GHSA AAAA state tournament.
The advantage came after Lakeside had 37 shots on goal, compared with Americus-Sumter's 6.
Heading into the game, Lakeside coach Chris Newman knew his Lady Panthers, No. 1 in the Region 2-AAAA standings, held the advantage over fourth-seed Americus-Sumter from Region 1-AAAA.
"With the weather, the game plan changes a little bit," Newman said. "We changed the game plan to play the feet, and the girls stuck to it and did very well."
Lakeside scored two goals in the first 20 minutes while the Lady Panther goalkeeper, senior Emily Brandenburg, had yet to touch the ball. Both goals came from junior Ashley Wray and were assisted by fellow junior Renee Redington.
Two goals were not enough in the first half for the No. 1-seeded Region 2-AAAA team. Senior Erica Eiring knocked in another successful shot with a little more than 7 minutes to go in the first half.
Lakeside kept up the momentum with two more goals to close the game, while Brandenburg was relieved in goal by sophomore Mikayla Williams in the second half.
Junior Caitlin Clark, sporting the No. 9 jersey in memory of her late sister and former Lakeside soccer player, Jenny, also scored on a line-drive shot. Clark had been wearing the jersey since the second game of the season against Aquinas, and said she will continue to do so for the rest of her high school soccer career.
Newman said the jersey gives Caitlin and the team extra motivation.
With less than five minutes to go, freshman Kaitlin Hill scored the final goal of the game to seal Lakeside's first state tournament playoff win.
The Lady Panthers advance to the state tournament's Sweet 16 round and will face the winner of Woodward vs. Warner Robins at Lakeside on Wednesday.
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